Will beer make you a girly-man?
What's more manly than sharing a big pitcher of frothy, ice-cold beer at the local pub with your buds? How about a big pitcher of frothy, ice-cold Diet Coke? 'fraid so.
Consuming beer as well as other alcoholic beverages can lower your testosterone levels, thereby making you...less manly. Egads! In fact, the rise in female sex hormones could be enough to increase fluid retention ("bloat") and bodyfat. Alcoholism may even cause bodyfat to take on a more feminine distribution, adding fat to hips and thighs. As a result, regular partying or alcohol binging is something bodybuilders should avoid.
Even those who aren't regular drinkers can go only so far at a party before estrogens go up. In both sexes, just one binge is enough to increase estrogens. Although the fallout from booze may only become obvious to the public in long-term alcoholics, the needs of a bodybuilder are more finely tuned, and short-term estrogen rises will add up over time to significantly hamper results. In one study, a group of 72 healthy young men drank the equivalent of about six servings of beer or wine. Their estrogen levels dramatically increased and were still high five to 10 hours later. This means that no type of alcoholic drink can be ingested in excess without increasing estrogens, even in men. Alcohol also reduces free testosterone levels, both by increasing testosterone-binding proteins and reducing testosterone output.
The United States government defines moderation as no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men, but bodybuilders need to be stricter than this for best results. Essentially, male bodybuilders should restrict alcohol to no more than one drink per day, an amount that is now believed by some to provide a degree of protection against heart disease. If you can sacrifice dessert, most types of dietary fat and almost all processed foods to achieve your bodybuilding goals, cutting back on booze shouldn't be any harder.